LGBTQ group un-invited from Provo’s Freedom Festival Parade

Posted at 7:29 PM, Jul 04, 2017

PROVO, Utah -  Encircle LGBTQ Family and Youth Resource Center was supposed to be spent marching in Provo's Freedom Festival Parade until, they say, the Freedom Festival Board changed their minds.

"They said that they were not allowing politicians or advocacy groups and we tried to explain that we are not an advocacy group," said Encircle Executive Director Stephenie Larsen of the Festival Board. "We’re a 501c3 resource center.” She said that means legally, according to the IRS, they are not allowed to advocate or risk losing their non-profit status.

As for the board's claim for not allowing politicians in the Freedom Festival Parade, both politicians and candidates for office were seen walking in the parade Tuesday morning, including Tanner Ainge who is running for Congress.

Larsen said Encircle registered a few weeks ago and was originally permitted in the parade. The call came Thursday morning they would no longer be allowed. She said breaking the news was difficult.

“That was probably the hardest part just because we had a lot of kids and their families who were really excited to be a part of the parade and be a part of the community,” Larsen said.

FOX 13 reached out to the Freedom Festival Board of Directors and were told Director Paul Warner would email all media a statement Tuesday afternoon. After multiple attempts to reach Mr. Warner, FOX 13 still did not receive a statement.